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I apologize in advance if this theory has already been beaten to death, debunked, etc., but I've thought, practically from the moment I started watching the show (I got hooked in about a year and a half ago, and have now watched every episode so many times that my wife makes fun of me) that the island might be Eden, as in the Garden of... This is really just an intuitive sort of hunch/hope on my part, but it makes sense on a base level in that the island is obviously very special and also very hard to find/enter (mankind having been kicked out of Eden a long time ago). Also, this idea connects to a possible identity for the Man in Black- Cain, the first murderer. In the Bible, after killing his brother, Cain is doomed to wander, but is also marked by god so that he cannot be killed/die. In his wanderings, he perhaps finds the island/Eden and learns of its true origins, etc. But why would Cain want to destroy Eden? Well, he is said to have "sought death but was denied it, and his mission was to destroy the souls of men" (from the wikipedia entry on Cain). More specifically, I think the "home" MIB references is actually death, but he can only get his wish if Eden, and perhaps humanity ("the souls of men"), is destroyed. Under the umbrella of this idea, I think the destruction of Eden would be one of the first signs/seals that leads to the destruction of mankind. Thus, the alt-reality introduced this season is essentially the Earth shortly before its destruction. However, this alt-reality could also be Jacob's loophole- a way for Jacob to get help to our "original reality" protagonists/candidates. How that happens, I don't know, but I wouldn't be surprised if Jacob's death is key to it (in other words, he's "pulling a Dumbledore" in order to save the island, humanity, etc., perhaps even just because he can now talk to Hurley directly, something that would break "the rules" if he were still alive). Again, I apologize if this was debunked before I ever entered Lost fandom, but I've been dying to share the thought...